How To Protect Yourself Against Illinois Domestic Violence Claims
In the state of Illinois, certain acts of violence are categorized as crimes of domestic violence. When an act of violence is committed against a person in your family or household, then domestic violence laws can apply toward the charges against you, resulting in prison time, fines, and even orders of protection against you.
Being convicted of domestic violence can have a significant impact on your life and impact your rights. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the domestic violence laws in the state and how you and your attorney can defend yourself against domestic violence claims in court.
What Are Domestic Violence Offenses?
A crime can only be classified as one of domestic violence if it fits certain criteria. The victim of the crime must be a household or family member, which the state defines as:
- A former spouse
- A current spouse
- Those related to you by blood or marriage such as parents and children
- Those with whom you have a child in common
- Anyone with whom you are dating or engaged
- Anyone with a disability and their caregivers
Various crimes of domestic violence are commonly charged. They include:
This occurs when bodily harm is caused to a member of the household or family or physical contact is made with them in an insulting or confrontational way. This is a Class A misdemeanor in most circumstances, but it can be elevated to a Class 4 felony if the person accused has previous convictions of domestic battery.
Aggravated Domestic Battery
If in the commission of the crime of domestic battery great bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability is caused, then you can be charged with aggravated domestic battery. If strangulation is involved, you may also be charged with this crime.
This is a Class 2 felony. Any sentence handed down if convicted requires the defendant to be incarcerated for at least two months.
If there are any previous aggravated domestic battery convictions in the criminal history of the accused, then the judge has to power to send a person to prison for a minimum of three years.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges
If you are charged with domestic violence, then it’s important to engage an attorney to help formulate a defense on your behalf. Make sure your rights are upheld during the court process.
The defense you use depends upon the circumstances of your particular case. In general, these are the types of defenses used in domestic violence cases:
- You are innocent of the crime
- The person accusing you of domestic violence is lying about the incident
- An accident was the reason behind the incident
- You were acting in defense of yourself or your kids
- Domestic violence charges cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt
- Your partner’s behavior was the cause of the incident
- Errors in the police investigation
Remember, the success of your defense depends on how much you cooperate with your attorney. You must be honest and upfront about every detail of the incident that led to the charges — perhaps even your relationship before the incident with the victim.
Withholding any important information from an attorney who represents you can make for a very poor outcome for your case. Remember, a conviction for a domestic violence crime will be with you forever.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.